Among many String Quartets written by Franz Schubert, one of his most famous is No.14 in D minor called "Death and the Maiden" catalogued as D.810. Much of its music is quite dark, severe and rhythmic. Here we feature the decidedly rhythmic Scherzo (3rd movement) from that quartet. The Quartet gets its knickname because Schubert uses the theme from his song "Death and the Maiden" in the slow movement, and at the time of its composition Schubert was acutely aware of his deteriorating health. As well as the full score, the individual parts for this movement can be downloaded and printed using these links: Violin 1, Violin 2, Viola, Cello.
"Death and the Maiden" has historically been a popular narrative and artistic idea, which has in recent years given its name to a Roman Polanski film and a play by Ariel Dorfman. Schubert's earlier song called "Death and the Maiden" uses a text by Matthias Claudius. It is in the form of a dialogue between a young woman and Death, who promises her, "You shall sleep softly in my arms". The second movement of his Dm quartet is a set of variations based on the theme from the song. Later composers have orchestrated the "Death and the Maiden" string quartet calling it Schubert's "Symphony in Dm".